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Not sure how this is going to sound.

Started by Lillycache, May 17, 2012, 11:49:50 am

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Scoop   What kind of effort would have worked for your children if your mil had made the effort? I am coming off a terrible few years with ds married a year ago  and live far from them. Even 4 time a years will  not be possible, so  I am already thinking how to be close as they tell me they want me to be with their child -  they are just preggers, due around Xmas.  It seems easier once the gc are older if they are allowed to come for vacation on their own as my ds did with his gps.  The early years though, how can one be close from far away - other than skype. I am thinking discs of reading books to baby - what else might work?


Elise, I am going to be in the same boat.  YS/FDIL due end of year, and when he get back from deployment in May, she and baby (we affectionately call it jelly bean right now..Lol) will be leaving with him to go to his base, 14 hours away.  I'm in on the skype, we also FB.  I thought about making videos with my cell phone to them all and posting them to FB for them to watch, and hopefully seeing MiMi will make jelly bean familiar with my face. (You can post to FB and when you upload it, set it to private so only they can see it).

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Pooh  guess I will have to figure out FB, which I have managed to avoid till now.  I like the video idea - thanks. By the way, my dil is calling her little one "the olive" right now - it was blueberry, then raspberry and now olive - it makes me smile and it has been a long time since I smiled enough in my heart. I keep your son in my prayers Pooh  - he is my hero!


Thank you.  You wouldn't have to use FB.  You could email them too.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


What great ideas! Congratulations to you the nicknames, lol :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Quote from: Elise on May 21, 2012, 06:52:00 pm
Scoop   What kind of effort would have worked for your children if your mil had made the effort?

Wow.  I have so many ideas, I don't know where to start.  Being a silent observer on Facebook, with the occasional "how cute" comments would be nice for when the GK is a baby.

But really, at the 1 year mark, you can send cards.  You give a toddler a singing card and a sheet of stickers and you're GOLDEN.

My DD LOVED opening the Christmas cards and was always sad in Jan when the cards stopped.  When I told my P's this, they EACH sent her a 'letter'.  My Mom cut out pictures of kittens (or whatever) and wrote a little blurb for her.  My Dad sent a donut-shop gift card ($5) because his "thing" with the GK's was having a "coffee break".

I would also suggest trying to have a "thing" with the GK's.  ASIDE: This is what you'll be known for, so when the teacher asks about the GP's, this is what will come out.  For example, even though my IL's and Mom all live far away (and my Dad has passed away), DD said that my Mom "played with her", my Dad "built things" and my IL's "lived far away".   My Mom's "thing" is that she plays with DD.  DD once tried to play with MIL, and MIL didn't know how.  She couldn't "do the voices" for the dolls and invent a story.  So that was the end of that.

When we DO visit the IL's, my MIL is NOT interested in DD.  MIL likes to do crafts, and will take out the craft stuff, but it's DD and I who craft together.  MIL has to go clean or something.

My Mom is DELIGHTED by my DD.  Whereas, it's obvious that MIL doesn't think of her as a 'real' person.  This shows in SO many ways.  MIL doesn't try to cook things that DD might like, never mind trying for her favourites.  One time, DD made a picture for MIL and MIL trashed it (verbally and then literally).

My Mom knits and sews.  (For dolls & teddies too.)  My Dad built stuff (he made DD a rocking zebra!).  You can't get more absent than being dead, but my Dad is STILL a part of our lives, because we have stuff from him and we talk about him.

I guess my advice boils down to:  keep in touch (phonecalls, FB, cards, send pictures of your cat, whatever), when you do see them, be present and interested in them as people (ask questions, ask about what's been going on (i.e. how did your recital go?) and have a presence in their lives, either with some special things or special events.

Okay, I *have* to rant a little bit!  This is a list of what NOT to do.

- when we called MIL to tell her that DD got her ears pierced, her first comment was NOT "did it hurt?" or "what earrings did you pick?"  NOPE.  It was "Now you can wear the earrings I bought you for Christmas!"  (Yup, MIL bought DD fun-fashion earrings when she didn't even have pierced ears, because MIL just buys DD and DNiece the EXACT same gifts, without care that one has pierced ears and the other does NOT.)

- MIL once made us a supper where there was NOT ONE SINGLE THING that DNiece (one of the local GK's) would eat.  And she's NOT that picky.  For the record, once, my Mom made us 3 different meals at one sitting, DH's favourite, MY favourite and DD's favourite - just to make sure all of her bases were covered.

- We had bought one of those DIY stepping stone kits for DD to make for MIL.  MIL fought it ALL THE WAY.  First, they didn't have a bucket to mix the concrete in (not true).  Then she fussed over DD's design, because it wasn't nice enough.  And I haven't seen the stone since.

- Once, when DD was 10 months or so, MIL was hosting a gathering and she walked by DD and said "I'm going to have to bond with you sometime." and just kept on walking.  Huh?

- DD was jumping on DN's trampoline and was calling out to MIL "Gma!  Gma!  Gma!"  She must have called out 10 times and finally MIL looked at her when she said "Gma Lastname!"  I'm sure MIL doesn't *like* being "Gma Lastname", but if she doesn't answer to Gma, that's what she gets.  This has happened more than once.

- MIL's gifts to DD are never special for her.  They're always exactly the same as DNiece's.    MIL could have been the HERO this past Christmas.  We told her a gift that DD would have ADORED.  But no, it didn't interest DNiece, so no-go. 

Really, it does come down to the fact that my family (plus SIL & her family) are DELIGHTED with DD.  MIL loves her, but doesn't consider her a real person.  (MIL will look right past DD and ask me if DD likes xxx.  Uh, she's right here, why don't you ask HER?)

Good luck Wisewomen, it should be an easy relationship but it's not always.


It is cute, all the nicknames.  FDIL first said it was "It", then we went to "Zat" because the Dr. told her it was the size of a grain of rice (Zaterain's) and now it has changed to "Jelly Bean".  We have laughed and laughed about it because I post silly pics on her FB of blue and pink jelly beans going, "Are you are blue or pink jelly bean?"

I plan on being creative in the videos, dancing, singing silly....something that hopefully my GC will see MiMi as fun and loving and when we/they visit will want to play with me. :)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Thank you Scoop. I'm starting a list from your suggestions so I will not forget when the time comes. Cute jelly bean fb story!

lancaster lady

My GD and I have matching pink wellingtons so we can splash in puddles together .
I guess you have to be in touch with your GK's often to know what they're into .
For a while it was Tangled , then the Lion King , anything princess , now its Toy Story .
Cool grandma's keep up with the latest trend , but it changes fast so you gotta be quick .... 8)


more entries for my list - thanks LL.


Give yourself a break!  The truth of the matter is, your grandkids are another woman's kids, not yours.  There's no reason to feel ashamed that you don't want to be a 24/7 grandma.  I bet a lot of MIL/DIL problems wouldn't arrise if some MILs would remember that her GKs are another woman's kids and some DILs would recognize that a bit of involvement doesn't mean her MIL wants to be a DM all over again. 

You are who you are and there is no perfect way to be a GM.  If you can find a way to be a GM that you enjoy, don't let anyone else's standards make you feel bad about yourself.  If you tried to do the 24/7 thing (assuming you had the opportunity), you'd probably resent it and end up with a bad relationship with your GKs.  They'd pick up on your lack of true enthusiasm. 

I never considered motherhood a vocation.  I didn't like playing games with my kids.  I would do a bit of it, but there was a limit.  I was never enthralled about hearing every last little detail about preschool or whatever.  Sometimes kids feel suffocated when a parent or GP is too involved.  The Gk may feel responsible for the GP or P's happiness, and that's not good. 


I get what Herbal is saying.  A person can drive oneself into distraction trying to please the ps and gc; for some it comes easily; for others, not....sounds like Scoop's mil is just not into small children and is sometimes very untactful, doesn't seem to get it....but she does love gd as you said, and gd must know that or she would ignore probably knows who the fun gma is and must accept the other one as distant but "there."

Guess the good thing is although the gma doesn't do all the things the other gma does, she isn't complaining about being the left-out gma bc she isn't being left out!  That's a good thing, Scoop, that you have your mil in your lives even though she does thoughtless things like the picture trashing.

My mother didn't "play" w us as children; she loved us and we knew it; she also didn't play w the gc or ggc (they were too "rowdy" when small.)  She did pick up interest as they grew older, wanting to know about their activities and very proud of their achievements.  Her gks felt the love she had for them although she wasn't the fun gma.

She had her own life as Herbal is saying, I think.  Her job, her dh (my dad) and other activities were foremost in her mind; she didn't obsess over her gkds; she would worry about them if she knew a problem, so I tried not to let her know about issues that she couldn't help bc we would worry.

DH tells me I overdo the gkd thing; I'm frustrated bc I have scads of pics I need to organize, having overdone it; I want the gkds to know and love me; but at the same time, I know I can't begin to keep up w the maternal gps/relatives who shower them w so many gifts that the c soon just ignore; too much!  So I keep gifts to something I know they need; they have so many dolls, balls, stickers, handmade things (I've done this, too) that more means nothing to them.....

Dil has so many pics, etc., that when i special make an album of pics for her it isn't special; if one pic isn't perfect of dil, the album is never seen again (she points out the pics she doesn't like although I'm thanked for the album.)  Nothing is special if there's too much of it.

I don't get to Skye w them as I'd like; the ps are too busy; so when I'm w them I give them attention but also discipline (dh the same); discipline the ps agree with;  I've seen too many gps give too much attention/gifts/whatever they want; the gc sometimes treat the gps rudely.....the gps won't even tell the kids to behave for fear the gc will dislike them....

Herbal is right; if we overdo it, the gc and we all suffer. We have to remember the gkds aren't responsible for our being happy.